The releasers get to action throwing up confetti celebrating the occasion - India's historic ODI series victory over the Aussies at the Gabba. Golden yellow surrendering itself to a resurgent blue means the men in blue have finally got over their overseas blues & woes. Not so long ago given the one-sided nature of Indo-Aussie clashes, staunch Indian supporters too subjected team India to brickbats. Sample this analysis. The argument here is one of nomenclature. They argued the results all sway to the tunes of the christening. Its not in their game, but in their name they concluded. India ends with the hindi syllable 'dia' meaning ever magnanimous. Australia ends with the hindi syllable 'lia' meaning ever coveting. Given such a 'eventful' analysis the timing of this victory has turned the analysis on its head. Version 2.0 of this analysis now reads: Its not India but 'Win'dia. And its not Australia but 'Oust'ralia. Clearly, India is the winner and Australia the ousted ones.What a victory?
What's special about this victory?
At a first wink, its been achieved taming the lion in its own den, down under.
On second thoughts, it has been achieved against an attempt to put the Indians, down & under. Agreements were broken, the spirit violated and at times gentlemanship flagellated. As for the Aussies - The Press, the Players, the Public, the Purveyors (read: the administration) the 4P's; it seems were not, for peace. Antics, off the 22-yards ruled conversations in the concerned national backyards. If ever Baiame, the Aborigine God was asked for a solution this would promptly have been His prescription:
A 'vocal' fevicol to seal the lips of the loquacious lot
A 'handy' itchguard to freeze the hands of the reckless columnists & the media
An 'gentleman' gel to ensure the players stuck to their agreements and the truth
Distractions apart, cricket has finally emerged the winner. A cursory glance at the victory snapshot and you discern that there's a totally new twist to the tale - An Indian team where the hero is a team and not any individual. An occasion when the seniors miss the team and not the other way round. A team sans legends, yet has gained a foothold into the legendary simply because the team in its entirety has enlisted itself into that league . A moment where youth has stolen a march over the years.Hail Youthopia!
Now the chase commences. What about the 'seniors', the legends? Dravid, Ganguly and probably in the most remote terms even Sachin could be donning their thinking caps asking the most critical of self-queries:
"What about me? Is it curtains from here on?"
After getting it almost perfectly right, the selectors too might not seek deviation from the magic script. That is, they may not be willing to tamper with this current winning combination atleast in the ODI & T20 arenas. This break from tradition could be the most ominous portent that might well be playing on the minds of these wonderful players right now. If this portent makes its way into reality, that would be a tragedy because these players still have some mileage to offer. At the same time there is youth knocking at the doors of glory. Given this see-saw, the selectors have to put the right weights at the right ends. An pragmatic selection card would mean getting back Saurav and Rahul but on an observation or peroration note. A very reasonable argument could be that they may still offer some guidance to the youngsters around them.That would be a fair deal to either parties - the young turks as well as the senior zens.
Taking away nothing from these legendary seniors, Indian Cricket stands at the cross roads. The selectors may well have to consult Robert Frost :
"Two roads diverge in the woods......
Should we take the one less travelled?"
There's youth, a sum of parts having endeared itself to a billion thumping hearts. And there's experience, a resume of incredible achievements that's hard to be given a blind eye. Given these compelling counter-forces, intelligent bravery needs to mark the essence of the decision to be taken. Youth needs to be encouraged but experience needs to be recognized. Will the seniors be offered a well deserved opportunity to script their swansongs is the million dollar question? Given the balance, you may as well toss a coin.
Hail the Legends.